Earlier this week Google announced that they will be launching a new and exciting AdWords feature called Customer Match, which will allow advertisers to target their ads at specific people using their email addresses.

What do we know so far?

Customer Match is expected to be rolled out to all advertisers over the next few weeks. It works by targeting people who are signed into Google products like Search, Gmail or YouTube using their email addresses.

Facebook and Twitter already offer ad targeting using imported email lists and Google’s Customer Match will work similarly.

First advertisers must upload a contact list, then Google will match up as many of the email addresses on the list as possible with Google user accounts. These emails could belong to users at all different stages of their relationship with the business, from new leads to frequent buyers.

The ads served by the advertiser may be displayed to the user in one of three places: search results, Gmail or YouTube.

Just like Facebook ads, you will also be able to create ‘similiar’ audiences by uploading a list of contacts and asking Google to examine the profiles and create a new list similar to these people, to help you to reach new and relevant audiences. An article in The Drum stated that similar audiences will not be available for targeting in paid search, only YouTube and Gmail ads.

Great news for advertisers

Customer Match has the potential to be an extremely powerful tool. People who already have a relationship with your business are your most valuable customers. Customer Match allows you to reach these people, in Google’s own words, ‘in ways that are most relevant to their intent and content’.

Google gave an example of how Customer Match could be used:

Let’s say you’re a travel brand. You can now reach people who have joined your rewards program as they plan their next trip. For example, when these rewards members search for “non-stop flights to new york” on Google.com, you can show relevant ads at the top of their search results on any device right when they’re looking to fly to New York. And when those members are watching their favorite videos on YouTube or catching up on Gmail, you can show ads that inspire them to plan their next trip.


Google haven’t revealed much about how privacy will be managed yet, they’ve simply stated that email addresses will be matched in a ‘secure and privacy-safe’ way.

An article written by theverge.com said that email addresses will be ‘anonymized’ by Customer Match to prevent companies from creating profiles about specific individuals.

Users are able to opt-out of receiving personalised ads in their Google ad settings.

This new and exciting development will continue to help brands to connect with people on Google with immediacy and relevancy; we’re looking forward to testing it out and seeing the results!